"What Good Is It for a Man to Gain the Whole World, Yet Forfeit His Soul? (Mark 8:36)"
THE TWILIGHT SAGA: NEW MOON is the second of four vampire stories by Stephenie Meyers, a Mormon. It continues the love story between Edward and Bella, two unique teenagers. Bella spirals down into a deep hole of depression when the vampire she loves leaves her, in an effort to protect her. She finds herself picking up the pieces of her broken heart with her best friend, who happens to be a werewolf.
Picking up where the first movie left off, NEW MOON opens with Bella (played by Kristen Stewart), having recovered from the vampire attack that almost claimed her life, starting her senior year of high school and celebrating her 18th birthday with Edward Cullen, a vampire who refuses to attack humans, and his family. After an ill-fated accident resulting in Bella’s blood being spilled at the Cullen residence, which is almost too much for certain members of the family, Edward (played by Robert Pattinson) decides to leave Forks. He believes he is protecting Bella from the dangers of the vampire world by doing so. He asks her to promise him not to do anything reckless.
Bella, utterly heartbroken and losing all semblance of functionality to the point of becoming zombie-like, is haunted by the memories of her time with Edward and seems incapable of pulling out of her new depression. Finally, after about four months, Bella makes an effort to reconnect with old friends, one of whom is a childhood friend, a Native American named Jacob Black (played by Taylor Lautner). During this time, she accidentally discovers that, by being reckless and putting herself in dangerous situations, she is able to see images of Edward in her mind more clearly and hear his voice. Desperate to be with him no matter the cost to herself, she purposefully continues to put herself at risk.
With Jacob’s help, Bella rebuilds an old motorbike to further her dangerous escapades. She soon comes to discover that Jacob might be exactly what she needs to heal from the hurt of her broken relationship. She begins to feel alive and happy again, even though the memory of Edward is still painful. Her friendship with Jacob, a member of the Quileute tribe, leads her to a new discovery concerning the secrets of their heritage, as Jacob must deal with a newfound ability to transform himself into a werewolf. In the midst of this, Bella’s life in is danger with the arrival of Victoria, the vampire mate of James, who was killed by Edward and his family in the first movie.
The emotional tension and plot slowly culminates in the end where Bella must save Edward from deliberately provoking the Volturi (a secret vampire society that regulates the laws over others of their kind) into killing Edward. Like Shakespeare’s ROMEO AND JULIET, Edward has received information leading him to believe Bella is dead, and he believes that, by provoking the vampire leaders, he can end his misery.
Fans of NEW MOON will love it, but many critics will groan! Also, those who go into the film expecting lots of action and excitement probably will be disappointed, because the movie isn’t so much about that as it is about Bella’s heartbrokenness and the boy/werewolf who brings her back from her depression and helps her feel alive again. Those who have not read the books will still enjoy it, but may not be able to understand everything, as the finer details will be lost to them. It’s obvious, therefore, that Director Chris Weitz is catering to the fans with his adaptation as opposed to the critics, and fans won’t be disappointed.
The production values of NEW MOON are held to a higher standard than the first movie, TWILIGHT. For example, it does a much better job of staying true to the book than the first movie, and the character portrayals are much more believable as they demonstrate greater emotional depth. Although the actors give excellent performances, it is Kristen Stewart who carries the movie to the end. The screenplay is also well written, although some scenes had to be arranged differently than they were laid out in the book, but, overall, the movie is a fair and accurate representation.
The content of NEW MOON includes many positive, moral elements – surprising for a movie about vampires, werewolves, and teenage romance. For example, Bella is willing to give up her life for Edward if that means saving him. Also, Bella and Edward do not let their relationship go any farther than just kissing. Furthermore, Edward consistently refuses to give into Bella’s demands to be turned into a vampire because he is afraid that she will lose her soul and be damned to Hell, although in the end he acquiesces on the condition that she marries him first. Lastly, the vampires who drink human blood are shown to be the evil, bad guys, and though the good vampires struggle with the temptation to do so as well, they do not give into their bloodlust.
That said, there are many reasons to be concerned about the content in NEW MOON. For example, Bella makes it very clear she wants to become a vampire and doesn’t care about her soul. She even tells Edward he can take her soul as long as it means that she will get to be with him forever. As the heroine of the story, someone that young, impressionable girls would idolize, this message is potentially dangerous and misleading. Along these lines, the intense relationship between Bella and Edward is disconcerting. The impression is given that neither of them is capable of existing without the other. This kind of love is more like a combination of love, lust, and obsession rather than true love. In that light, the movie is filled with high emotion and teen angst to the point where characters are unable to function properly. Thus, the message being sent to teenagers and young adults is that this is what love really is – a message that is encouraged as the characters are portrayed as truly knowing their hearts and having an accurate understanding of what love entails.
Other elements of concern include some unresolved discussion concerning whether vampires still have souls and if they are ultimately destined for Hell. Because of this uncertainty, Edward is greatly opposed to turning Bella into a vampire, but Bella’s constant insistence finally wins out, though this particular event doesn’t take place in this movie.
Taken together, these elements, and NEW MOON’s strong Romantic worldview, its occult and pagan content, brief violence, Bella’s reckless behavior, and Edward’s suicidal actions, are unacceptable viewing for media-wise moviegoers.
THE TWILIGHT SAGA and NEW MOON make the world of vampires and werewolves look very attractive. Parents and children should be aware of this and use appropriate discernment.
The driving question raised by NEW MOON is: “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36).
(RoRo, OO, BB, C, PaPa, L, VV, S, N, MM) Strong Romantic worldview where teenagers are ruled by their feelings, almost to the point of obsession, rather than common sense, with some strong occult content including vampire characters who can run fast, have incredible strength, glitter like diamonds in sunlight, jump long distances, and some can read minds, see the future, and inflict pain with mental powers, among other abilities, and there also exists a secret society of vampires who regulate laws for their kind, but there are also some strong moral, light redemptive elements of good versus evil, one character is willing to give up her life for those she loves, a couple of references to Heaven and Hell and there is some discussion on whether vampires still have souls or if they are ultimately damned for what they are, and vampire and werewolf characters struggle with whether they can still view themselves as good beings even though they are no longer completely human, plus strong pagan content where Indian characters transform, sometimes unwillingly, into werewolves, which adheres to their pagan belief system of animal totemism, and Indian boy gives girl a dreamcatcher to help chase away her bad dreams; eight relatively light obscenities such as “hell” and “d” words, and one profanity (“Oh God”); strong intense violence includes two or three brief scenes of vampire’s limbs being ripped from their bodies, vampire gets thrown across a room, girl gets pushed into table and glass shatters injuring her, girl’s arm gets stitched up, girl has intense nightmares that cause her to scream in her sleep, girl engages in reckless and unsafe behavior such as when she crashes her motorbike and hits her head causing her to bleed, girl decides to jump off of a cliff and almost drowns, brief shot of vampire being ripped apart by werewolves, werewolves tussle with each other, vampires discuss humans as being food, and vampires fight each other; sexual content includes multiple scenes of teenage kissing, sometimes passionately; upper male nudity; no alcohol; no smoking or drug use depicted; and, strong miscellaneous immorality and problems such as vampire lies to his girlfriend because he believes he is protecting her, vampire envies Romeo in “Romeo and Juliet” because he has the ability to easily commit suicide when the love of his life dies, there is discussion on whether vampires are eternally damned for what they are and speculation as to whether they still have souls and these subject matters go unresolved at this point in the story, vampire refuses to change girl into a vampire because he does not want her to lose her soul if that is the case, girl deeply desires to become a vampire so she can be with her love forever and says she doesn’t care about her soul and doesn’t want it without him, and vampire and girl are so in love with each other to the point of obsession where they feel their lives couldn’t continue without the other.
THE TWILIGHT SAGA: NEW MOON, the second adaptation from several books by Mormon Stephenie Meyers, continues the love story of two teenagers. Bella becomes depressed when Edward, the vampire she loves, leaves her to protect her. She picks up the pieces of her broken heart with her best friend, Jacob, a Native American who can become a werewolf. Everything seems to go well until an old nemesis returns. Eventually, Bella must save Edward.
Fans of the books may love NEW MOON, but many critics will groan. Viewers expecting lots of exciting action will be disappointed because the movie isn’t about that. It’s about Bella’s broken heart and the teenage boy/werewolf who brings her back from her depression. NEW MOON contains many positive, moral elements and some redemptive moments, including sacrificial love, an offer of marriage, and vampires who practice restraint in a desire to be good. However, the story encourages children to give into their emotions and contains occult, pagan content, brief intense violence, and a heroine who desires to become a vampire. “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36).